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Soilborne Wheat Mosaic Virus: Kentucky Wheat IPM

Soilborne Wheat Mosaic Virus


Leaves of plants infected with Soilborne mosaic virus exhibit a mild green to prominent yellow mosaic. Small green islands and short streaks may be evident on an otherwise yellowed leaf. Plants with soilborne wheat mosaic are often stunted and tillering can be reduced. Warm weather will slow and can eventually stop disease development. In that event, symptoms may be visible only on the lower leaves of the wheat plants.

This virus can easily be confused with Wheat spindle streak mosaic virus. Wheat spindle streak virus will show yellow dashes on an otherwise green leaf, however. Plants with spindle streak usually are not stunted.


The virus is transmitted by the soil fungus Polymyxa graminis, that is common throughout Kentucky. Infection can occur any time fall through spring. However, autumn infections cause the most serious problems. High soil moisture favors infection.

IPM Techniques

Plant resistant wheat varieties, improve field drainage, and avoid practices that may cause soil compaction. Planting after the Hessian fly-free date can also help limit fall infections. Avoid continuous wheat cultivation.

References and Additional Information

  • IPM-4 Kentucky IPM Manual for Small Grains

  • PPA-10c Kentucky Plant Disease Management Guide for Small Grains by D.E. Hershman and P. Vincelli

  • Annual Kentucky Small Grain Variety Trials, Progress Report 355

  • Common Diseases of Small Grain Cereals. F. J. International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Londres 40, Apdo. Postal 6-641, Mexico, D.F., Mexico

  • Compendium of Wheat Diseases, M.V. Wiese, The American Phytopathological Society Press, 1987.

This site was created and is maintained by Pat Dillon, Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky, S-225 Agricultural Science Ctr North, Lexington, KY USA  40546-0091 (phone: 859/257-3571). Please send questions or suggestions to: pdillon@uky.edu